Monday, January 30, 2012

Yes I'm Broken, But No Biggie

Today I had my 6-month postpartum OB/GYN appointment at 7 months postpartum because I am incapable of keeping anything on a schedule these days.

During my 3-month hiatus (an eternity when compared to the weekly visits that were the routine previously), I had become an outsider to the mommy-to-be club and forgot to bring along my visitor's pass (The Bean) to prove I was once a member of the club. So while everyone stared at me wondering what rare disease I was battling, I smugly enjoyed how, at least, I wouldn't have to pee in cups or get blood drawn like in the good ol' days.

7 months later and I'm still peeing in cups.

As I was ushered into the examination room, I was told to "strip down to nothing; the gown opens to the front and there's a blanket for your legs." Apparently the healthcare industry has been hit hard in the economic downturn. For as I was standing there in my socks, I looked around for the "gown" and "blanket" and could only find a vest made out of paper towels and a roll of toilet paper I presume was my "blanket."

And, as if it couldn't get any worse, the paper towel vest was circa 1984 as evidenced by the rocking shoulder pad structure.

Sort of like this, but with less sleeves and more paper towels.
OK fine. I couldn't help myself and had to take a picture. You are welcome. You're also welcome that I took the photo with my pants on and not while I was sitting on the table with my toilet paper "blanket." Because we all know how attractive THAT would've been.

Totally rocking like Grace Jones
The three minutes you are forced to sit on the examination table in this getup feels like an eternity. I'm surprised more women haven't killed themselves from the exponential reduction in self esteem that happens with every passing second. I was practically in the stirrups with the vagina car jack inside me just to make this appointment go as quickly as possible.

Do you know how hard it is to carry on a small talk conversation when one is wearing only a paper towel vest? Very.

Anyway, I got official word today that there was no way my child, or any other, was going to pass through my loins. All my little girl bits turn up in a weird place (who knows what that means, I wasn't stopping for questions, there was a paper towel vest I needed to get off my body) not to mention a very narrow bone structure that would not allow a child to escape through my laughably petite pelvis.

Glad they found that out now. I wouldn't have wanted to miss those fourteen hours of contractions and two hours of pushing.

On the up side, I'm back on the grown up version of birth control since we've weaned The Bean from the boobs. So hopefully I can stop feeling like a junior high schooler every month who needs to visit the nurse's office because her cramps are so bad.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

At Least I Can Say I Told You So


It's not like I was surprised. OK fine. I was surprised. I wanted it so bad and was riding the high of an amazing Day 2. What could possibly go wrong? I was following the rules. THE RULES! I live for rules for the simple reason that when you follow the rules there is an expected (and, in my opinion, guaranteed) outcome.

Reason #674 for Why I Hate Sleep Training: There is no wiggle room in these rules. AT. ALL. Failure to comply with the rules results in a sleep training reset. Back to the very beginning.

Let's get caught up, shall we?

By Night 3, The Bean learned the sleep routine and wasn't keen on getting tricked into sleeping in her crib again. She put up a good long fight. After an hour and a half of crying, soothing, rolling around and general pissiness, she fell asleep.

But then at 3AM, I awoke to her screaming and when it seemed like she wasn't going to be falling back to sleep, I went in to soothe her. Except when I walked in, I saw this:

Do you know what that is? If you guessed it's a room overflowing with pee, you won!

Her diaper was soaked. Her pajamas were soaked. The crib sheet was soaked. Either an entire fraternity on their way back from a Beer Pong tournament used The Bean's room as a rest stop or my custom sleep training routine including a large bottle as The Bean falls asleep backfired.

Not only did I now HAVE to pick her up, but I also had no idea where the other crib sheets were. Brilliant.

Night 3 ended like this:

I was ready to start anew on Night 4, alas, Nights 4 and 5 brought their own issues. Namely:

Yes. We caught colds. Again. For the eleventy billionth time this year. I'm setting my house on fire.

Miserable, sick child means:

Luckily the cold passed by Night 6. But I was over it all. So when The Bean woke up at 3 in the morning:

Let's not look at the time on the clock...I'm too tired to keep updating the cartoon.
And now it's tonight. Night 7.

Which is really Night 1.

I've renewed my commitment to this. Come hell or high water or colds or...I am not making this sh*t up. The Bean just woke up again in the pee pool. Looks like being a hippie and using cloth diapers is not conducive to sleep training. Overnight diapers are on the list for tomorrow. As for tonight, luckily I found the other crib sheet.

And so it begins. Again.


(Don't worry. I won't be blogging about this adventure again until we achieve success. Likely when The Bean is 23.)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

There's Nothing to Read Here...So Just MOVE ON...

Shut. The. Front. Door.

I'm so tempted to lie right now. Because once you put something out there in the world, The God of Jinx starts laughing and doing his little jinxy dance and throws lightning bolts into your happy fairy land. But I PROMISED to keep you updated and chronicle the Sleep Training for Realz This Time adventure.

I am a saint.

Last night, Night 2 of my sleep training experiment, resulted in this:

Why yes, that is a piece of chocolate cake with a magical elf on top.

That's not to say we didn't hit a few snags...that's why there's no salted caramel ice cream on the cake...but the turnaround from Night 1 to Night 2 was mind-boggling.

Previously on Sleep Training for Realz, The Bean was being auctioned off on eBay due to her refusal to just give in and sleep in the crib already. The nighttime was a disaster. The naps were even worse. She looked like she might be going into anaphylactic shock.

So I did what the book told me (Holla at ya Dr. Weissbluth! You and me are tight now. Kisses.) and prepared to put The Bean down for bed at the insane hour of 6 PM. The sun was still up.

I also loaded her up on some grub. Now food and sleep are not related (cereal does NOT help a child sleep better at night). BUT The Bean is going through a growth spurt and a child will wake up if they are hungry. So I topped off the tank.

She was exhausted and barely made it through the bottle before passing out as I was putting her into the crib.

And then it didn't look so good for me. Within 30 minutes of putting her down, she woke up and started crying. I added a Buy It Now button to her eBay listing and walked into the room to rub her belly, calm her down and walk out in TWO MINUTES. Any longer than two minutes and the child begins to win the sleep training game - or they explode, I wasn't waiting around to find out.

She wasn't asleep when I left the room. Not at all in fact, but I left anyway.

And happened...she fell asleep. Actually, I was spying on her through the monitor...she cried for a bit, then just stared at the bars of the crib, resigned to her fate and eventually got bored with the lovely paint job I did in her room and passed out.

Not 15 g*ddamn minutes later, Bear started barking and woke The Bean up. So I had to kill him with a ninja sword I had hanging around the house.

Turns out, I could have let him live - The Bean amazingly went right back to sleep with nary a peep. Sorry Bear. We'll miss you.

She slept until 3:30 AM...already a win in Mama's book, but there's more. At 3:30, I went in to soothe her and it looked like her eyeballs might roll out of her head. So I went and made a small bottle to help lull her back to sleep (yes, this is likely sacrilegious in the sleep training Bible, but I'm going with my own combination approach here because she needs to be able to b*tch about something when she's a teenager). Within 15 minutes, she was passed out. I was back in my own bed WITHOUT A CHILD and also passed out.

Until 7:30 this morning.

And I'm going to go on because you know what else happened? The Bean took all her naps today. In the crib; without fighting it the whole time.

I may not have to kill myself...then again, we've just started Night 3. And I'm so very tempted to not hit publish...because it looks like The God of Jinx is already working his magic...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The War is On...For Real Though

The Bean has not been complying with my grand vision of sleep training. I was hoping one night she would decide to walk to her crib, scale the side, jump in and fall asleep for 12 hours. 7 months old and still no luck.

So we started actual sleep training last night. Yes...I am STILL talking about sleep training. But this time I mean it.

Up until now, I was using the Wish and a Prayer approach to sleep training. You can try looking it up on the interwebs, but it's a little less popular than Ferber or Weissbluth. The Wish and a Prayer approach involves a lot of pretend sleep training where you let the child fall fast asleep in your arms, place them gently into their crib, do some sneaky ninja moves to escape the room, pray (SILENTLY) that they will sleep through the night and whenever they wake up, stick them in bed with you.

I convinced myself The Bean would suddenly just sleep through the night in her crib one day and it would be magical elves and a sunshine disco party up in my house. 

There have been no elves.

So in order to preserve my sanity, my health, my marriage and my daughter's life I am making my own damn elves.

Like a deranged Dr. Frankenstein I aligned all the information on sleep training from the books I read, advice I'd gotten and gut instinct and crafted a monster sleeping training technique I felt would work best with the type of kid The Bean is. Because I totally am qualified to take on this task; what with all those courses in pediatric sleep habits (read: briefly scanning the chapter on sleep habits in the books before skipping to the "Here's what desperate parents do" section).

You know those moments when you're super hopeful and pretty sure everything's going to turn out all right and then it all turns to sh*t? Yeah. That's what sleeping training is like; times a hundred because you are faced with the scary possibility that you may never sleep ever again.


The Bean went down easy enough. We did a bedtime routine. I placed her into the crib nearly asleep. She passed out quickly and I escaped. No crying. At all. 

Until midnight. Then I realized the sleep training was to begin NOW. 

She woke up wailing. I waited 15 minutes. I went in and soothed her. She quieted down and would begin to fall asleep. I crept out of the room. And she woke up again 20-30 minutes later. Rinse and repeat until FOUR AM...

I may have placed an ad on Craig's List offering ALL.MY.MONEY.EVER for someone else to take on this hateful duty. (Note to self: draft business plan offering to sleep train other people's kids for the low - and totally reasonable - sum of $1MM...a night.)

At 4, she finally went down and slept until 6:30. I considered this a massive coup. So when she woke up at 6:30, I whisked her out of the crib, grabbed a bottle and cuddled the hell out of her.

But the story isn't done yet. Because sleep training isn't just about nighttime sleeping. THAT would be too easy. No, we must also make a production out of naps as well (read Weissbluth. I'm too bleary to write out the logic. But it makes sense. When you're desperate it all makes sense. 'Rub canola oil on her back, sprinkle rose petals on her toes, and put a rabid ferret in the crib? Why didn't I think of that?')

A nap schedule also needed to be implemented. (Note to self: implement nap schedule for self. Run it by boss. Look for new job.)

We needed naps at 9AM, 1PM and (maybe) 4PM.

Guess who wanted nothing to do with a 9AM nap after not sleeping most of the night before? You'll never guess.

There she was puffy-eyed from exhaustion and losing her mind because we had the gall to think she needed a nap and the nerve to place her on a comfortable sleeping surface to facilitate this goal. 

THIS is the moment where you think, "F*ck it all, let's just hold her to sleep all the time. She can sleep whenever and wherever she wants." You don't have this thought the night before. The night before you are still pep talking yourself into giving one full night a try. The night before you think "Well at least she'll sleep tomorrow since she's not sleeping now." The night before there is still a glimmer of hope.

But that first morning nap is hell.

So she "napped" for 15 minutes. But the 1PM nap went much better and much longer. A whole ever-loving hour. But the 4PM nap never materialized.

It's 7:31 PM right now. Day 2 of sleep training. And I already have a ton to share with you...tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

We Are the Magic Makers

For the first time in 7 months, I got a massage. The last time I had one, I went into labor and delivered a child within 24 hours - so I've been hesitant to go back.

I honestly went in thinking this would be a good way for me to relax. Isn't that cute?

Turns out, it is not relaxing when every nerve in your body is waiting for the phone to ring; convinced you will hear a screaming husband tell you to run out undressed and grab the demon banshee child before he drowns her in the cucumber water. 

The phone didn't ring. But I knew better than to let my guard down. When my hour was up, I jumped off the table naked before the masseuse left the room because what if The Bean was having a meltdown? I didn't want to explain why I thought a shirt was necessary when her screams were melting the faces off of everyone in the county.

So I walked out into the lobby still getting dressed and noticed immediately the serene spa music, the quiet murmurs of patrons who were bound to enjoy their massage and a distinct lack of uncontrollable screaming.

Michael was sweating from head to toe. The Bean was wearing only a shirt and a diaper. They looked as though they just ran a marathon - in July.

Apparently in that one hour they had been to four stores, touched all the things, changed a diaper, had a bottle, discussed politics, ran around the parking lot and gotten naked. But they were both smiling. 

And that, my friends, is what we like to call a turning point. A turning point where Mama gets to go out for girls' night. Maybe I'll spend the 4 hours it will take to make my hair one color again. Or perhaps I'll just go food shopping; something I haven't done since before the holidays.

Or maybe I'll just go and enjoy a massage.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Post Which Confirms I'm Just Another Mom Because There Are Only So Many Things to Talk About

This morning The Bean woke up not quite her usual giggly self. No, I'm actually not being sarcastic...for once. The kid wakes up like the world is full of opportunity and awesomeness and that good things will definitely be happening today. This is not a trait she inherits from me.

But this morning the giggles were grunts. And grunts only mean one thing...the first diaper of the day was going to be a particularly dirty one.

Oh well. I no longer think twice about wiping snot or spit up on my newly cleaned shirts. It's safe to say my standard for gross has been raised.

I was not, however, prepared to be face to face with biology happening as I changed the morning diaper. It was looking at me and I was looking at it and The Bean was busy gnawing on the box of wipes. In true mother fashion, I quickly closed her back up in her dirty diaper - why change two diapers when you can change one?

I set The Bean up with a copy of The Wall Street Journal and gave her quiet time, but she was making a face I knew all too well. A face she did inherit from me. A face which read "Please dear lady, make up a good story about how I died. Don't let people know that my undoing was piece of poo that simply refused to leave my body."

We tried giving her pear juice, but The Bean has come to the conclusion all food should be white, liquid, dispensed from a boob or bottle and rhyme with filk. Everything else is most likely poison. We tried having her walk around the house, despite her actual inability to walk. We tried coffee (no we didn't). And still, just fruitless grunting.

I feel bad for her. Really I do.

Sort of.

Payback's a bitch kid.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Month 6: Week 3

Each week, nearly every mother in the world receives an update (or 5) on their growing child and the milestones appropriate for that week.

For example, this week's updates for The Bean included such gems like:
  • She's finally rolling from front to back and back to front!
  • It's a new world to explore and she's using all her senses
  • Your baby won't have the dexterity to open books or turn pages for another 3 months
  • Your baby will start cooing and "talking" with you. Encourage this!
  • You're probably starting to enjoy a structured sleep schedule and a full night's sleep - relax and enjoy
The milestones are mostly lame and wildly unhelpful.

Here's the update they should have sent this week:

Congratulations! Your bundle of joy has learned to lock her hips and knees which means she'll never sit again. Why sit when there's walking to practice? Don't expect to sit your little tyke down if the phone rings, if you need to pee, if it's time to feed her. We can do all these things standing up! Yoga and hot baths should help alleviate the back pain from all the stooping to parade your pride and joy around the house.

Your child is exploring the world around them...mouth first. Blocks, spoons, other children's hands, table edges, sneakers, baby wipes, freshly washed diapers, feet, sticks, clumps of dog hair and the cat will all be approached mouth first and promptly covered in drool. Have a towel handy.

Reading is fundamental and an important skill to foster early in your child's life. Hand your child books and magazines and watch them be torn to shreds or thrown at passing cats and dogs. 

By 6 months old, an infant has usually discovered his or her voice and she will serenade you with impressions of screech owls, Pterodactyls and squealing piglets. Encourage your little one to speak up and they will - in restaurants, church and during important conference calls.

Naps? Not so much. Bedtime? Bah! Starting this week, your little one will refuse to sleep. Ever again.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Things I Was Going to Do

I was going to blog every other day this week.

I was going to start sleep training, for real this time, this week.

Working out? That was going to start this week.

Food shopping...this week.

Getting my life in order after a month of traveling; this week.

Register my cars? By Wednesday of this week.

Take a bath, shower, wash my face, do laundry, get out of my pajamas.......all these things were going to be done this week.

Except I downloaded Season 1 of BBC's Sherlock and FXs American Horror Story.

I haven't slept in days.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Guide to Sleep Training (I Lost Mine)

Discipline and will power do not exist in this dojo.

Remember the funny joke I told you all about sleep training and how, no bullshit, we were going to make it happen?

Guess what?

You'll never guess.

Being sick, traveling, holidays and more traveling are apparently not the sort of items Dr. Ferber had in mind when he wrote his book on sleep schedules. I clearly mistook "structured plan" for "change everything, cause as much upheaval as possible and the more things are different, the better." My bad.

Friday night wrapped The D-Zo World Tour 2011 (with a little seepage into 2012). A tour where The Bean mostly slept in a bed with me because lugging the Pack-n-Play all over God's creation was not my idea of savvy traveling. Again, my bad.

You're never going to guess who wants nothing to do with a Pack-n-Play now - let alone (gasp) a crib. We've essentially regressed past BIRTH since The Bean actually slept in her Pack-n-Play when she was a newborn up until two months ago. If we keep on this trajectory, The Bean will be spending her nights in my womb. I'd probably let her if I could figure out how to get her in. 

I stupidly decided to try the Ferber method the other night. Helpful hint: going from co-sleeping to sleeping alone in a crib over the course of a night is not a recipe for sleep training success. I was shocked too.

Within 20 minutes (yes we checked in at the 3-minute interval, the 5-minute interval, the 7-minute interval, etc.), The Bean had flipped herself onto her stomach, was clawing at the bars of the crib and turning a violent shade of magenta from the intensity of her yelling. We stopped sleep training immediately and realized a more subtle technique may be needed. Like letting her sleep in our bed until she gets married.

It's safe to say, we're back at square 1.

We are officially on a traveling hiatus so I can take on any "method" and am willing to be a hard-ass on anyone messing with the schedule (including my husband). One of my New Year's Resolutions is: Know When to Ask for Help. 

OK interwebs, I'm asking. What's worked for you? 

Child-led sleep training?
Co-sleeping until they leave for college?

Let me hear it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Wrap Up So We Can All Move On with Life

What I Did for Christmas Break
by The Bean D-Zo

As I much suspected, my true birth parents sold me to gypsies when I was born. It's the only explanation for why the people currently responsible for raising me spent 40 hours (an entire work week) over the past 7 days IN THE CAR.

The gypsy parents' itinerary included 4 states.

Did I mention the 7 days part already? Oh, I did? SEVEN DAYS.
Exhibit A (To be used in my presentation to child protective services.)

They're called an airplane and frequent flier miles. Embrace them.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were spent in the car...and Houston apparently, but that part went too quick to remember. But I'm sure I was there because I got this cool ball that makes tons of great noises and plays songs (which incidentally is missing now...I need to ask the gypsy woman about that since I saw it last with her as she was heading to the tool shed).

My two best friends; Daddy and this ball.
The day after Christmas was my six-month birthday and you're never going to guess what we did. You're right! We spent more time in the car. Have I told you this story already?

After twelve billionty hours in the car, I decided enough was enough. I needed a vacation.

Oh my God, you guys. You've been holding out on me.

The beach.

The damn gypsy man never let me go. He must've known I was planning my great escape.
Please ignore the blue stripe on my diaper. I got excited when I saw the beach.
Let go gypsy man...I'm outta here.

We spent an entire day out of the car and it was pure bliss.

Morning coffee overlooking the ocean.
Serious conversations about my life goals with Aunt Charlotte.
I amazed everyone with my mad magic skills.
And some much needed R & R.
Happy New Year! My resolution? To make enough money to retire in a beach house by my third birthday.

And to never get in a car again.